The current economic stagnation and political crisis in Brazil has been a long standing concern. The economic growth that buoyed Brazil through most of the 2000s has stalled, and the ruling Workers’ Party, which through three presidential terms led Brazil toward relatively worker- and union-friendly policies, is under fierce political attack. These circumstances make it an apt time to evaluate the challenges currently faced by workers and their unions in Brazil. This brief undertakes that evaluation by placing the current situation in a longer historical context.
Our hypothesis is that the current context will overload unions, which have been under pressure to reverse recent economic and political losses. But trade unions must lead an agenda of workers’ demands, or both workers and unions will be at risk of suffering serious damage in face of the growth of the conservative wave.